Belayer's neck, most of us have had it, and it gets even worse as you get older.
But we have found a cure, and we sent out our intrepid gear reviewer, John Bachar to test them in the Owens River Gorge, near his home town of Mammoth Lakes, California.
John Bachar reports:
I just received my new CU Belay Glasses (www.powernplay.de) a few days ago and got a chance to try them out today at the Gorge. Here's my unbiased semi-professional opinion with a shot of them in action.
They are great I must say. Super clear image. Exquisite workmanship. Lightweight. And the "looking noble carrying case" is well, pretty darn cool too.
Everybody who tried them on thought they was the shiznit as well.
I didn't even have to bend my neck to freak out during the leader's sketchfest....
Nothing is upside down. Rotating your head makes the rock "tilt" like a rocking boat or something. If you look straight on and face directly towards the rock, then everything looks "normal" - just like you were looking straight up at the climber.
Climbers are pretty much the same size as in normal vision but the whole scene is slightly "cropped" - and amazingly you can see quite a bit around the climber.
The image is completely crystal clear, I mean it's clean.
I hope those guys make a "taller" version so you can see a little more above and below the climber. The width is good, the height a little narrow.
They did a pretty damn good design job on these babies I have to say. They even put my name on them - JOHN in orange letters.
Press release ispo award 2008: POWER ´N PLAY PRODUCT "CU" WINS ISPO AWARD 2008! Press release and jury statement
With CU glasses overstretching and unhealthy straining of the neck is avoided. The belayer hardly needs to change his natural head position while still being able to observe his climbing partner all the time. CU glasses are particularly useful for belaying in long routes and steep walls. They are also very good for belaying your partner while he or she is checking out a route.
The climber can be observed during climbing without the head having to remain in an overstretched position. This also means, that the belayer does not have to look down every so often to release the strain on the neck as is the case without CU glasses. Permanent observation increases the safety of the climber. With CU glasses the belayer can stand closer to the wall, which means substantial advantages for the climber as well as for the belayer in case of a fall. CU are designed to leave enough free field of vision so that you can still see your belay device, the start of the route, the ground etc. and fulfill all your belay duties.
Those who wear glasses can usually simply place CU over their normal glasses. CU are easy to use and the glasses supply a very clear, non- inverted picture. It only takes a short time to get used to them. Once accustomed to CU glasses, you will not want to belay without them any more.
The CU glasses are made of high-quality steel, have a cool design and are available from www.powernplay.de